Saturday, October 24, 2009

Behind the music: Parley with the Pirate party; Guardian, 10/23/09

Helienne Lindvall, Guardian; Behind the music: Parley with the Pirate party:

Nick Griffin wasn't the only one to stir up controversy this week. Sweden's Pirate party were in Manchester to debate their ultra-laissez-faire ideas on copyright

"Nick Griffin isn't the only controversial party leader to head into a debate this week. This past Sunday I was on a panel debating with Rick Falkvinge, the leader of the Swedish Pirate party. The event was part of the In the City music conference in Manchester, and with me on the panel were Jon Webster (chief executive of the Music Managers Forum), Paul Saunders (ISP Playlouder), Patrick Rackow (CEO of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors) and Andrew Orlowski (the Register).

As with Griffin, many people didn't agree with Falkvinge being included in the debate, nor getting a platform to peddle his agenda. Though I believe in free speech and problem solving by engaging in dialogue, I admit that the difficulty in challenging extremist views is that you have to come way over to their side of the pitch. Still, I'm convinced that you have to face these people head-on to be able to expose the huge gaps in their reasoning.

Key issues for the Pirate party are civil liberties, privacy laws, getting rid of copyright for all non-commercial use and limiting copyright for commercial use to five years...

It may surprise some people that the debate did not end up becoming a screaming match. In fact, most of the panel focused on finding a solution to how creators would survive in the future. Incidentally, I told Falkvinge that I was thinking of starting a political party that would protect the livelihood of creators. When I said I was going to call it the Pirate party, he said I couldn't – since the name is trademarked. I guess the Pirate party cherry-picks rights according to their own agenda."

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